You often hear about the term: content marketing being thrown around by search engine marketers, website designers and ‘tech guys’.
So what the heck exactly is that? Is it writing a bunch of articles, and then publishing in on your website? Is it creating a bunch of random videos, and then putting it on Youtube and hoping it gets thousands of likes?
Well, the sum it up: content marketing is simply as putting yourself both search engine and people shoes and asking yourself: what would they want?
The internet isn’t a complicated place. It’s simple. Both Google, and users want to reliable, non-plagiarised, original and engaging content. This helps both your SEO efforts, and your social media marketing efforts.
Google exists to condense, filter, and return information. For Google to continue as the leading search engine in the world, Google is always, attempting, to return better and higher quality results to its users.
My personal belief is that of content marketing will be increasingly qualitative as Google, Youtube and Facebook regularly updates their algorithm. Older tactics such as keyword density, thin content, paid links are already being devalued by Google, over the recent years.
The State of Content Marketing in Singapore
I was researching my competitors in the SEO Service niche and I figured a good majority of them aren’t really putting any effort to curate kick ass long form content. Their strategy probably revolves around: spinning out low quality content, driving backlinks from private blog networks and other questionable SEO tactics. Whilst they might be able to to still rank (well, Google isn’t perfect) it diminishes user experience, and user value in the long run.
So, well, what does this mean for you and I? For every industry where there’s a gap, there’s opportunity. If you write great content, and promote it the right way, there’s no reason why you can’t both outrank and outmanoeuvre your competitors.
SEO rankings aren’t everything. I figured out the hard way. I was able to rank websites on Google page 1, rank 1 using grey hat SEO tactics, however, I was barely converting traffic… to buying customers. So what’s this fuss about SEO rankings? Is it really that important? Or is qualitative factors such as engagement, user experience, unique selling proposition, more important?
So, how can you create great content, that converts traffic, into actual buyers of your product?
1) Publish High Quality, Researched Content
It’s common to hear that that “content is king” amongst SEO circles. That’s a true adage that stands true till today.
In the old world of SEO, SEO can come across as technically driven with jargon like keyword density, keyword prominence and etc. It’s a science that can seems to be driven by numbers, links, and hard data, rather than qualitative metrics such as quality of content and user experience.
Google isn’t looking for Hemingways or the best writers, however, they are looking for the most relevant information to put upfront on their Google search results. They rank content based on using quantitative metrics such as backlinks (and their relevancy), bounce rate, time spent and user engagement.
Here’s the problem with thin content. The internet has already too much data, too many guides. How can YOU stand out?
Reverse Engineer the Process
Well, it’s not rocket science to figure that out. It’s as simple as reverse engineering the process. This can be accomplished with a simple Google search, taking a look at your competitor’s content, and publishing a unique or better angle than them.
Steve Jobs himself said that great artists steal.
One bread and butter approach of writing content that both search engines and people enjoy reading are: How to articles, Guides, Listicles and anything that can better or inform their lives.
- 5 Creative SEO Content Development Methods
- How to Do On Page SEO Yourself – Ultimate Guide
- The 1 Simple SEO Trick That The Experts Won’t Tell You
Well, you should already know this by now, there’s tons of ‘How To Guides’ on the internet.
However, a lot of them aren’t really backed up by any research. You can differentiate by writing a guide that has links to citations, scientific studies. Not to mention, long form content is found to rank higher on search engines.
- Including Citations & Footnotes
- Linking to Resources
Not to mention, long form content is found to rank higher on search engines.
Whilst academic research and all fine and good, people are looking for real life solutions to their real life problems. You should also include case studies and real life examples in your guides to gives others a sense of practicality and realism. Ps. Refer to my secret grey hat technique tutorial.
Now, all this might come off as a tall order for an entrepreneur, SEO consultants and business owners. Some prefer to outsource their content. Here’s the thing about outsourcing content, there millions of writers on Upwork that are able to churn out an article for as low as $5. I’ve personally gotten writers online to write articles on SEO for as low as $5 per article.
It’s quality that makes all the difference.
I’m not against the idea outsourcing, however, I’m pretty sure you’re going to get the price your paying for. If you’re paying less than 20 dollars per article, you’re going pretty horrendous writing.
Pro Tip: Hiring a Singaporean writer to research and write personlized articles will help small medium enterprises here in Singapore be more relatable in their content to the local audience. Singaporeans will be able to relate to a locally written article. Especially if you’re targeting a local keyword such as: content marketing Singapore.
Government websites do a great job at putting out authoritative content. Singaporean government websites are often well-done, loaded with information and are extremely often detailed. What’s stopping the small medium enterprises here from following suit?
You can use copyscape to prevent plagiarism. Copyscape is a paid tool (it’s really cheap don’t worry) where you can check your own content against the rest of the internet. It’s one of my most use SEO tools. I highly recommended if you’re outsourcing your content to check if it’s paraphrased, copied or plagiarized from other sources.
Pro Tip: You can save that few bucks and do it traditionally. The good old Google Search works wonders.
2) Writing Using I, and Personalise it with Stories
It’s 2017, don’t be just another brick in the wall.
Writing with the words “I” and “You”, is powerful, and it offers a personalized brand and personal voice. The web is technologically driven already, you don’t want to sound like another robot churning out content.
This ties in with my first point. You can research books and tutorials in your respective industry and put them out your website whilst giving your own unique perspective on them.
Well, whilst most website designers and SEO consultants would outsource their content to content writers from freelance sites such as Up work and etc. I personally prefer to write all of them out myself. That’s how I differentiate from all of my competitors.
Remember, You don’t have to be the next coming of Shakespeare to write on a blog in your own voice. This is a common problem faced by most entrepreneurs. They don’t dare to write. I initially faced this problem when starting building this site. I had a fear of not sounding original and the irrational fear of just putting things out there. However, by including my personal stories and personal beliefs, the writing came more naturally.
3) Use Pretty Infographics and other Forms of Media
Content marketing is not limited to just words and writing. Content, on the whole, is made up of videos, infographics, slides and etc. Articles with infographics and multimedia are researched to be shared a lot more than articles with none.
Not only that, multimedia helps improves your site user experience, which is an indirect SEO ranking signal.
Now, here’s one to proof my point:
4) Include Positive Emotions in Your Story
North Korea is going to be start yet another Nuclear war, Trump becomes the president of United States and Elon Musk fails yet again on another rocket launch. The world is filled with bad news.
However, surprisingly, research shows it’s the good news that get share more than the bad. This might come as surprising to you, as it did to me.
So how can you make your writing filled with positive emotions like one of those best selling self help books then? It’s simple. This is accomplished through using story telling, real life case studies of successes or even pointing out research that is positive.
Including case studies of success stories can help give your audience a positive sense of hope in whatever they’re attempting to accomplish. You can use your own success story, or one of your client’s success stories in your post. Now, stop reading, go check out my testimonials page.
5) Create Social Content That People will Share
Google announced that social media links are an increasingly weighing factor in their algorithm. So, how can you create social content that people will share?
Well, research from the Buzzsumo has shown all the techniques above 1) long content 2) researched content 3) positive emotions 4) stories are shown to increase social sharing and likes.
These factors help with both engagement. However, be careful, don’t confuse popularity, with authority. Just because your post goes viral, it does not mean that you’ll rank well in Google.
I think the sweet spot of creating great content is the balance between popularity, and authority. Popularity helps to generate social media links from platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and etc. Popularity also helps with engagement, vitality and other branding factors. However, authority helps you generate powerful backlinks from other bloggers, and industry players in your niche.
This is why I often balance stories and research, in my writings.
BY encompassing your content towards these strategies, it’s safe to say that you’ll be producing kick ass content in no time, that will outshine and outrank your competitors.